Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Odds and ends

1. Is anyone else getting cabin fever?  Sunday before last, we were all coming out of our skin feeling cooped up in the house and waiting for our 1:00 church to roll around.  Shawn had the good idea to take a family walk around our little "backwoods" and it was such a nice time spent all together-outside!

One little Eskimo

Oh, I've got to put this one in too.  Just look at those irresistibly kissable cheeks!
The kids showing off their Tepee- I know the lighting's bad, but I had to have a picture of Abe in his marshmallow suit.

 I've never seen a rainbow like this before, straight above us in the sky and up-side-down. Rainbows usually appear after a rainstorm, and as there hadn't been one when  I took this picture, it must be an omen that the snow is over, right?

2. We finally reached the first day of spring!  Caden had heard that an egg will balance on it's end on the equinox, so while the eggs were out for breakfast, he tried it out!  (He has since decided that they'll balance any day of the year, but the secret is to wait until the egg "settles" for a moment.  And the trick only worked for him, not any of us.) Try it out if you like that sort of a thing!!

As you can see, he loves to have the camera aimed at him.

3. Shawn had to drive over to Boise to fire a very volatile PA and I was on pins and needles that the guy would punch him or come back later with a gun or something. (That happened last month to his cousin and his cousin was shot and killed.)  What is happening to this world that we have to worry about things like this?

Shawn called home after the confrontation to let me know that all went well, but he is considering getting a concealed weapon permit. 

4. I've been taking care of an extra little boy on Wednesdays because his mother really needs to work.  I realized once again today how much more complex leaving the house is when you have even just one more child to bundle up, put shoes on and buckle into a car seat.  It took fifteen extra minutes EVERY TIME we left the house to get everyone ready and into the car. I'm astounded!!

A carload of "littlies"

Last night I pondered about what to do while he was here because last week it didn't go well when we stuck around the house.  This little boy loves babies, adores Abram and has done great with him for the longest time, but lately for some reason whenever I'm not watching he pushes him down or beats him over the head with something. He has downs syndrome, so I'm not sure what he can understand as far as discipline goes.  I tell him, "No.  Don't hit the baby!" with a stern face, and he looks at me and smiles sweetly.  So, I decided to run all of my errands today. We came home here and there (lunch and later to run kids where they needed to be) and  I am now exhausted just from getting everyone in and out of the car!

I am back to square one about what to do next week.

5. Isabelle has been reading up a storm to herself, or anyone else that will listen, and would love it if I would read books like crazy to her, as well.  I have this horrible problem, though, that if I sit still long enough to read just two consecutive books to my kids, I fall asleep!  I think this may have been what precipitated Isabelle's idea to write up evaluations of Shawn and I.  The first thing on my chart says "books".  She informed me that I was to write how many books I read to them each day.  She has also evaluated some of my other activities during the day, but she ended up putting good job by all of them, and told me that she decided that she would only put good things on the chart. Phew!
 She has diligently recorded something onto our charts everyday.  It's fun to see what she views as our responsibilities.
Books, dinner, sandwiches, breakfast, getting dressed (she approved of the outfit I selected) and getting the honey (we drove to I.F. today to get more honey for our storage.)
working, school (I think from when he took them to school when they missed the bus), bed (he is the most fabulous bed-time tucker-inner), traveling, and I think Prince is her last word there.

6. Did anyone else read the article by Julie Beck in the March Ensign?  Did it strike anyone else's great interest? I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and discussing it with Shawn and my other friends.
 Lots of food for thought there.

Nothing can replace the amazing things that we can learn from being a part of a family.  This thought was brought home to me this weekend when I had a good friend (and her four boys) come up and stay a couple of days and a night with us. She noticed some parenting -type-thing that I did and surprised me by asking, "how did you know to respond to your child that way?"  It took me off guard, and I took a moment to put my finger on why, exactly, I had responded that way.  My answer was, "That's how my mother did it."  She asked the same question a couple of times about different things and I gave the same response.  It's so easy to become who our parents were, whether for good or for bad.  The influence of a good mother and father is so very real. I have so many areas that I need to work on the way it is, and I'm so thankful for the things that I DON'T have to try and change because of the example of my parents. Now if I will just parent the way that I know I am supposed to all of the time and be as consistent as I know I should...

This revelation this weekend has made me more aware of how I parent  - my kids are going to get frustrated about the same things I do and in the same ways. They're going to respond to their children the way I respond to them.  They're going to show affection in the same ways.  They're going to appreciate their spouse the same way. And on and on. Kind-of an overwhelming/scary thought about the scope of our influence.  I know I have heard that before, but really internalizing that reality this weekend brought it all home to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Every morning the little boys and I watch from the front door windows while the kids get on the bus.  First Maddie and Isabelle get picked up by a bus, and half an hour later, Kami and Caden's bus comes.  We watch at the window as each bus comes, and we always say, "goodbye kids!  We love you! Have a good day at school!" (we're a little compulsive that we have to do this and say the same thing every day) We say this as the kids get onto the bus, even though they can't hear us.  The little boys love this, and, if for some reason Nolan is off playing when the bus comes and he hears Abram and I saying the goodbyes, he comes running in a panic.  By then the bus has usually started on, so he knows to run to the dining room window so that he can catch the tail end of it.

This morning this happened, and he had to repeat the goodbyes out loud to himself, plus he added on some of his own admonitions. "Don't be a pout- baby at school! Keep the commandments and do what is right!! Always follow Jesus!" he chanted, and then as the bus drove around the corner and out of sight he contentedly left the window and resumed his "cowboy"game.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mischief makers

We have never had leprechauns come to our house. Ever. So, I'm pretty sure that it was Isabelle's traps that lured them in, because we had enough tricks and mischief played at our house yesterday to last me for a year!

Before we started our family activities yesterday morning, we were sure to tell Isabelle to check her traps.  I tell you, she woke up cheerfully and with enthusiasm!  That doesn't always happen in her case.:)  There was no sign that any leprechauns had been tampering with them, which I believe was a good thing, because she then informed us all that her teacher had told her that leprechauns DO NOT come at night. Phew!  That was a close one, because at first we had thought about having them come at night.

Right before scriptures, Caden disappeared, and I suspect that is the moment that the leprechauns came.  We had breakfast with some milk that had been turned green (yuck) and while Nolan was bathing his water suddenly turned green!  Caden told him that he thought a leprechaun had touched it.

THEN the little girls suddenly noticed that their traps had been sprung and apparently they had originally trapped a leprechaun, and he had gotten away but left a little hat and slipper!  Also he had left what looked like some gold coins, but it turned out that was just another one of his tricks, because there was just chocolate inside of them.
I love this picture of her initial reaction to the find.

Isabelle took the hat and slipper to school, where her teacher insisted that she show the whole class.  When she got home, she carried them everywhere with her, and at lunch had them sitting directly in front of her.  After praying over the food, she informed us that she had been unable to close her eyes for the prayer because she was afraid that the leprechaun could be around somewhere and would try to steal them back while she wasn't looking.

After school the kids went on a treasure hunt all through the house and outside and found a small pot filled with some gold.  The gold looked really cool, and the kids are treasuring it, but once again, we are afraid that it is a trick and that the gold was spray painted to look like the real thing.  Those tricky leprechauns!

on the treasure hunt
divvying up the gold
 We had a ward party last night that I was to bring corn bread to.  I wish I could blame the outcome of what I made on those crazy leprechauns.  Actually, around this house, I did blame it on them.  Let's just say that Shawn agreed to make a new batch for me.  Corn bread that has been sitting underneath the broiler doesn't look or taste very tempting.  Burnt top and doughy underneath. I think I'll blame it on my oven- it said it was baking!!

(Just between you and me, Kami, Caden and I had the most fabulous evening on the 16th after the kids went to bed. Kami discovered she was a great shoe maker and milliner, Caden can make stones into gold, and find great places to leave clues.  While they discovered these talents, I made up silly verses for the treasure hunt, like "Me looked for a place to lay me head.  All that me found was a blasted cat bed!" and "Luck 'o the Irish! Ye'r getting bold!  Look in the snow hill for me pot of gold!" We had a wonderful time.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A rainy pre-spring day

I know that spring is just around the corner, but I hadn't realized how often I had been saying, "spring time is coming!" as I have been driving around with Nolan.  Because today after I said it, he immediately began singing, "Springtime is coming, it's coming today! For I heard a robin that was calling on it's way!" Followed by the second verse.  You know that primary song?  I had been singing that to him every day after I said that springtime was coming- I guess often enough that he learned it!  I had a little chuckle about that. It's been a rainy day, which ought to melt the snow and bring spring even faster!

one drowned muskrat trying to resist the mud. Boy have I got it coming!

But springtime really is on it's way!  I saw evidences of that today.  You know how winter is exciting for your kids for the first few months, but after that they just aren't really excited to get outside and play in the snow? Today, the kids wanted to be outside playing - in the puddles, mud AND snow. I think they could SMELL the great allure of spring!

Maddie and Caden had the job of grinding wheat, and were having a good time playing at the same time.

Another evidence of spring is that track season is just around the corner, starting in about two more weeks, I do believe.  Kami has been faithfully running around our loop every day after school for the last couple of weeks to get in shape -  five times back and forth until she's gone what we figure to be three miles. She loves to run!!

She usually goes just as I'm finishing dinner and getting it on the table and Shawn and I watch her from the window whenever she's running by and worry. Me: Is she as fast as she was last year? " S:Her gait doesn't look as smooth.  Me: Oh, that looks better!  S: Well, you've got to remember, she hasn't done anything all winter - she'll be fine." One comment is made per time that she runs by the window. Pathetic, I know.  Shawn has even gone outside to time her run and encourage her.

The final evidence of spring is that I keep seeing robins!  I have no picture of that, BUT I did get a picture of another kind of bird today.  Around 4:30, I happened to look out the window just as an owl flew up to the tip top of a tree in our neighbor's yard.  It had a mouse in it's beak!  It was broad daylight  -well it was a little overcast, so maybe it was confused.  Anyway, I called the kids and we all had a great time watching it.  (Caden grabbed his digital binoculars and took some cool pictures, but I can't find any of them on the computer now.) After awhile it flew off into our cottonwoods, and stayed there until dark.  For all I know it's still sitting there, and we just can't see it anymore.  It wasn't the least concerned about any of us.  I took this picture of it on the way out the driveway while I was driving Kami to mutual, and I was parked practically right beneath it! 

full body shot
After posing for us long enough for me to get these shots, it turned it's back on us.  Which I think Kami was pretty happy about since it was making her late. :) Anyone know what kind of owl it is?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Leprechaun preparations

Apparently there has been a lot of hype about St. Patrick's Day at Kindergarten lately.  Isabelle comes home with more information about leprechauns every day.  She has a leprechaun poem that she has been reciting over and over! This may be her Irish heritage coming out.  (My maiden name is Irish - Kerns means Irish foot soldier). Her teacher's family isn't too far removed from Ireland herself and she even has a grandmother that still lives there. The class is going to give her a call on St. Patrick's Day!

Anyway, Isabelle spent the better part of Friday afternoon building a trap for leprechauns.  She has heard that if you catch one, you will get all of their gold, and you will be RICH!!  She was sweet enough to let us all know that if she happens to catch one in her traps she will share all of the gold with all of us.  So, as you can imagine, I am very supportive of a successful trap!

As you can see, there is a little door that the leprechauns can squeeze through.  As you can't see, there is some gold, cut out of yellow construction paper that is lying on the floor of her trap. These little men want gold really badly, so they will go into her trap just to try to get it. She says that the best placement of this trap is underneath her bed.  I believe her!

Her enthusiasm for building traps soon rubbed off on all of the kids and before long we had traps everywhere!  I guess it looked like a fun activity to everyone.

This is the second model that Caden helped her with.  There is a thread, invisible to the eye, tied between the two front legs of the furniture in the picture.  The idea is, that the leprechauns see the gold lying in the dish, go to take it, trip over the thread and trigger the cage that is above the gold to fall on the little men. Here is a close-up of the sign in the picture that Belle made to lure them in.

"Go in here.  You will be safe"

Maddie made one more trap:

The idea behind this one is that the leprechauns will spy the gold at the top of this contraption, will climb the ladder to get to it, and will fall through the trap door directly beneath the gold.  (Goodness, I am going to have to keep my eyes open and my brain suspicious around here!  These children have deviant minds!)

We are all anxiously awaiting a great success Thursday.  How could we fail?   I think that I'd better get out to the store sometime today and buy some gold- spray paint for some rocks and chocolate coins! (wink, wink)  Have a good one, everybody!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A long one

I am thinking about Caden today, and thought that while I'm at it, I'll add all the pictures that I need to do something with for my family history! (I am so behind!)

Was it just last week that we had all this snow?!  Thankfully we have been having a good melt around here, and I can now see some driveway.  I had to catch this picture the other day, though.  I was watching out the window as the kids headed down the driveway to wait for the bus and saw what Caden was doing and thought, "how typical."  He was shuffling/dragging his feet along to clear a path through the new snowfall so that Kami, who was in flats, and following in his tracks, wouldn't get cold and wet.

Caden spoils us all !  This was a time that I was trying to get something done and he took Abram and held him so that I could.  He's a pleaser and often jumps in and does things like this just because he can see my frustration. I often find him doing things that I have asked his sisters to do, and he wants to do it for them just to be nice.  Last week he came running back into the house after he and Kami had left for the bus and ran into the music room.  After a few minutes I told him that he'd better hurry or he'd miss the bus.  He started stressing out and said, "I have no idea which piano books are Kami's!"  He's always running other people's errands - including my own. (BTW, I had Kami get in the house and find her own books.)
Caden and Abram

Nolan and Caden
Cade waited a long time for little brothers (he was eight when Nolan was born).  I thought that once he had them the novelty would wear off, but Nolan is now 3 1/2 and he still enjoys him and spoils him rotten and spends every extra moment with him.  He plays games with the little boys, frequently comments on the cute things they say or are doing and helps them get dressed, eat, or whatever.

This is a picture of Caden reading to Josiah, Jarom, (my sister-in-laws kids) and Isabelle and Nolan when Leslie came up to help me paint our new house.

"Helpful" is definitely a word to describe Caden.  And boy am I glad that he has tagged along with his dad so much, because he has saved me many times when his dad hasn't been here to help me out.  Last week I noticed that the air in one of the tires was low and called Shawn to see what to do. (That may be pathetic to some of you, but, yes I am pathetic about things like this).  Shawn just said, "Ask Caden to put some air in it.  If he has any trouble, have him give me a call."  Sure enough, Caden knew where the air compressor was, what an air compressor is, knew how to attach all the gadgets and fill the tire with air. Lately after he helps Shawn with something, Shawn comes in and says, "Caden is a real help now!"

fishing at mom and dad's
A bird he found and caught while huckleberrying
 Caden has always loved nature and I thought I'd throw these pictures in because green looks so very lovely at this time of the year! Ahhh. Lazy summer days! And as I said in the last blog, he loves to grow things.  He has been at me for the last couple of days to get an order in the mail for his very own dwarf patio orange that he plans to grow inside his room during the winters.  He enthusiastically says, "wouldn't it be awesome to have a snack right outside my door and I could just step out and eat one right before I went to bed?!"

Last year Cade made a bug collection because he saw one that my little brother had made for a school class and wanted one of his own. Cade likes "brainy" things and this is how his room is decorated:
Cade's bug collection that he made
These are directly above his grow light - plant anatomy picts. made by me:)

I love Cade's enthusiasm for learning and knowledge.

Today I'm thinking about Caden because he left for school so delighted because he's in a chess tournament and has won twice and if he wins his match today he will place!  He has brought this up several times since he got home yesterday and I find this to be so endearing.  I told him that it was too bad his Great Grandpa Kerns wasn't around to give him more chess practice and coaching. (Or at least one of my brothers that he taught.  A small hint to Nathan and Aaron for the next time we're all together!) Anyways, grandpa was THE MASTER!

Good luck, Caden.  But mostly, continue to find interest in life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A success

The good news from our house is that Shawn is home today!  All through the month of February he was gone from Sunday night through late Friday evening.  It shouldn't be so crazy for awhile now.  I am enjoying feeling like I am not all on my own with the raising of my children!! 

Last week I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed.  Abram was sick with a horrible cold, fever and ear infections, which  - well, all of you with children know what that implies.  Anyway, at the same time all of the older kids were turning out project after project for school for end-of-trimester, and a science fair, and I was feeling a little bit STRESSED!  We did it though.  We put in some late nights, when we knew that Abe would be catching a few snatches of sleep, and we did it.

This is me with the attitude that I had about Caden's science fair display in the beginning. (Blah, blah, pout, pout, pout, let's get this done, woe is me.)

This is me when I realized how delighted that Caden was to be spending some alone time with his mom.  I guess it's good that Kami got these pictures so that I could document that!

The difference may be subtle to you, but I know how I was feeling and thinking and I can see it in my body language!  It ended up being a good time spent with Caden.  And how flattering is it when your son wants to spend time with you, and how fun is it when you can have a good time together and laugh at each other's jokes?  The next day he only wanted ME to go to the fair with him.  Yes, I am flattered.

Caden really put a lot of time into this project and really didn't put things off until the last minute.  The problem was that when Shawn takes off, he takes the computer that is hooked up to our printer.  Now, if I were a clever mechanical woman that would be no big deal, BUT since I'm not, getting his things printed off took some thinking.  Luckily the thinking was his dad's part in the project and they ended up emailing Caden's documents to the printing store.

Caden loves science and science fairs and this year he did a project on growing plants.  Last year he and I started a lot of flowers for the yard under his grow light, and they did pretty well, but when it came time to set them out, we noticed that the flowers in the local greenhouses had blooms on them, and ours, which were the same size weren't as far along. We realized that we never fertilized, and maybe that made the difference.  So, for his project he planted some pole beans and watered them with several different solutions:  water, fertilizer, sugar water and salt water.  The other solutions were just to add more interest. :)

I know this picture looks like the water was doing better, but this wasn't an end-result picture.
Surprise, surprise, the fertilized plants did the best.  They were getting their third set of leaves, had bigger leaves and over-all looked better.  Isn't it great when the outcome is just what you expected?  In life or science projects?:) At the end of the fair the top ten projects got an award.  Caden got fifth place!!  That was exciting, since we weren't expecting anything at all with the other 140 plus projects there.  Caden was especially excited about the funnel cake that he got a certificate for, and the second we walked out the door he asked if we could go pick it up right then.  Guess what he ate for dinner?

Caden with his friend Kaden

Caden is now excited to get on to his next project - growing a venus fly trap (their seeds take 3-4 months to germinate!!) and a pitcher plant. They both catch insects.  Hey, I'm all for that!!